Monday, 2 June 2014

Return of the Crafting System

A big chunk of chapter 2 should be looking complete by the end of the week - shots and commentaries to follow.

I've said a fair bit about the crafting system being reintroduced in The Umbral Abyss and I'm getting some questions about how it actually works compared to Indanthrine Prince. (NWN1 edition. The NWN2 ed. had no crafting support).

The previous system relied on my limited scripting knowledge and ran via a range of conversation based systems. This new system is almost entirely run through the use of items on workbenches, much like the official NWN2 system, albeit using our own range of themed items.

You will be able to mine, smelt, smith, work leather, fletch, woodwork, make poultices, brew potions, and repair damaged equipment. A later system to be added will be an item enhancement ability which will utilise a spell component, as seen in the official campaigns.

Certain crafting could not be assigned a suitable skill, e.g smelting, carpentry, so I have created some tradeskills for these which will improve the more a player performs an action. Other things like race, strength and intelligence can impact upon success and learning rate.

The general process for crafting is as follows;

1. The character must know the recipe to create a range of particular items. Recipes can be purchased, found and given out for free by NPCs in certain situations (e.g. Ivan will be able to tell the player how to make certain poultices). Learning a recipe costs a certain amount of gold to represent the time and expenses spent learning a trade.

Once the recipe is learned, the player will gain a recipe page item. These pages are auto-inserted into a book container, exactly like the Birds and Beasts creature guide. It is here the player may refer to the skill and component requirements for each category of item.
2. The character may require the correct tool. These are mostly easy to obtain. Some tools come with a set number of uses, such as the repair hammer or the smithing hammer and will need to be replaced after so many uses.

3. Gathering the correct array of components, the player places them on the correct workbench and uses the tool upon the workbench. A test is then made against a DC provided in the recipe page. Success results in item creation and an XP reward equal to the DC beaten. Failure will result in loss of the now ruined components.

The process is complemented with animations, sound and visual effects and every effort is being made to make the system desirable, but most importantly, not essential. The old version in IP NWN1 was unfortuntely redundant, as there was plenty of good equipment to be easily had. This time around, we have attempted to make crafting noticeably useful. For instance, it can allow you access to items which are not easy to come by or can give you an advantage in quests that require you to supply items.

Anyway, this should work out. We will be keeping a very close eye on the balance between craft-free and crafting gameplay to get the right balance.

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